Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented the ecig as we know it in 2003 and the company he worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, introduced the idea to the market in 2004.. This company changed its name to Ruyan (meaning "resembling smoking"), and only started exporting its products in 2005–2006 before even receiving it's first international patent in 2007. Recently, “resembling smokng” has announced it has changed it's name once more to eCigarettes.cn - or registered this as a Domain from which several other sites are hosted.
I find this interesting – the history of a concept transforming to an entity in its own right, a transformation occurring before our eyes. “Resembling” becoming a “thing” in its own right called an ecig. A thing that doesn't have to resemble smoking but a thing you can use that is a pleasurable hobby all on its own.
The original ecig just looked like a fake cigarette. We see them now in all colours, shapes and sizes. It doesn't have to be a fake anything. “Smoke” doesn't have to taste like “smoke”, it can be chocolate, apple, or any flavour we like – including tobacco. Ecigs have freed us from the constraints of having to simply burn leaves rolled up in paper. They have released some of us from the boredom of smoking, to doing something else that's fun.
I tried my first ecigs in 2009. They weren't fun. They were messy and tedious – and cheap looking. Technology has embraced the idea of vaping and is producing better and better devices. It is making devices that are far safer, less messy and less easy to target with criticism from the anti-vaping mobs.
It is easy to understand how alarmed our guardians are in health and government as they observe the wildfire spread of ecigs in only a few years and the sophistication of the devices we use as they evolve. We are witnessing history, WE are infused with vision, but others are wondering what the hell is happening!